Exxon facilitates oil spill management training
DPI, GUYANA, Thursday, October 26, 2017
More than fifty persons benefited from oil spill management training over the last three days which was facilitated by ExxonMobil.
Today, the course concluded with a demonstration of how the various tools are used in an oil spill at the Splashmin’s Resort on the Linden Soesdyke Highway. The training, called University of Spill Management, provided information on dispersants, tools used and structure of response strategies among other exercises.
Exxon’s Country Manager Rod Henson noted this is the second oil spill response training facilitated by the oil giant for the year. “This is one of the ongoing efforts that ExxonMobil is doing: capacity building efforts and partnership efforts with the various stakeholder groups,” he said.
Representatives from the Ministry of Natural Resources, Guyana Geology and Mines Commission (GGMC), Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and coastal Regional Democratic Councils (RDCs) were among the participants in the three-day course which included both theoretical and practical training.
This recent training is part of Exxon’s global training in oil spill management. “We’ve had this course for 10 years we’ve trained over 2,000 people so we’re very happy to bring that to Guyana,” Henson explained.
Guyana’s oil industry is still in the developmental stages and there are concerns about the protection of the environment among stakeholders and the general public. Henson assured that Exxon “is committed to operations that are safe and respect the environment”.
For the participants, the training provided very practical knowledge that will be beneficial to the work they have to do in the oil and gas industry.
Marissa Foster, a Petroleum Geologist with the Petroleum Department at the Ministry of Natural Resources said the “intense” training helps her department in the preparation of policies to address this type of disaster.
“We’re preparing for the sector so we have a lot of policies and systems we’re putting in place. So, it gives us an idea of how things are done on the international scene,” Foster said.
The training was also considered essential to the operations of the Coast Guard. Lance Corporal, Dexter Sealey noted this was his first time being exposed to this level of training. “It’s good for the Coast Guard because we will have the equipment so that we can do quick response to oil spill,” he noted.
Region Five RDC Councillor, Able Seetaram, noted the training was very informative. “It was a fantastic training. It educated me how to go back into my community with the other councillors and to brief them as to how, if there is an oil spill, we could able to prevent damages in various communities,” he said.
Also participating in the training were companies in the industry. Ryan Hemraj, Logistics Officer of Guyana Shore Base Incorporated said the training was vital to the work of the Shore Base Facility located in Huston, EBD.
“It’s really integral that we have a part to play in this because we’re going to be handling a lot of the equipment and a lot of the material as well. So, in the event of some unfortunate situation, we definitely need to be prepared to handle that sort of situation,” Hemraj noted.
More grassroots training
This recent exercise was done in partnership with the Guyana Civil Defence Commission. Director General of the CDC, Colonel (retd.) Chabilall Ramsarup called for more training on what equipment is used in oil spills.
“I hope this is not the end of it. I would like to see some more broad-based training particular for Regions Two and One because according to the modelling if there is a spill those are the likely areas that will be hit,” Ramsarup explained.
More importantly, the training is integral to Guyana’s development of an oil spill response plan, Ramsarup noted. “We’re not just talking about booms and other types of equipment, people must get hands-on (experience) they must see what it is and understand how to operate it,” he said.
The CDC is on the national committee that is working to finalise Guyana’s National Oil Spill Emergency Plan.
By: Tiffny Rhodius